It's a tossup who will replace Stokes

Multi-talented player Hugh (Slash) Smith stretches during his first practice with the Winnipeg Blue...

Multi-talented player Hugh (Slash) Smith stretches during his first practice with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers yesterday at the Stadium. (John Woods, Winnipeg Sun)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

It will come down to either the veteran pass catcher or the new kick returner today. Winnipeg's Keith Stokes, who has been a constant threat every time he touches the ball on either returns or offence, remains doubtful to play against the Toronto Argonauts here on Saturday due to a sprained ankle.

Blue Bomber head coach Jim Daley will decide whether to replace Stokes with either wide receiver Robert Gordon or Hugh Smith, who just arrived with impressive return credentials and can also fill in as a tailback/receiver.

"Hugh Smith has been a great addition," Daley said yesterday. "He's fast, he's quick and has really good hands both as a receiver and as a returner."

SECONDARY DECISIONS: Daley will also decide today whether Canadian cornerback Markus Howell (hand) or non-import safety Geoff Drover (hamstring) will play Saturday.

"We want to see if (Howell) can use his hands with that cast on and how effective he would be," he said.

But you can expect Joe Morgan, another non-import, to replace Drover at safety with import linebacker Terry Ray ready to back him up.

Daley is also hoping to find a way to get fullback Cory Olynick (thumb) back in the lineup.

THROWING HARD: QB Khari Jones has continued to throw at practice as he recovers from a shoulder ailment. However, Jones said he is still throwing with pain and is unlikely to dress again this week.

"He threw the ball very hard today, threw it well," Daley said. "He's pushing himself hard and he's pushing himself every day a little bit harder. And each day when he comes in, he's confirming to us that it didn't tighten up, it didn't get sore overnight. He still has some pain there but it doesn't limit his throwing like it did a month ago. I see a great progress in his rehabilitation and his ability to add velocity to the football as he throws it. So those are all very positive signs."

BUGGED: The Bombers got bugged at practice when DE Elfrid Payton caught a giant water beetle and was teasing his teammates with it.

"Elfrid was going to eat it," Daley said. "He's an idiot."

Apparently, DL Doug Brown offered Payton $20 to eat it. Daley offered him $25 to decline.

HASHMARKS: Sande Buono, wife of B.C. LIons head coach Wally Buono, reportedly flew in from Vancouver to be with Sharon Ritchie during Dave's recent quadruple bypass surgery and the former Bomber head coach's recovery ... Bomber GM Brendan Taman put in a call to the agent representing wrestler-turned-football player Brock Lesnar and is awaiting a reply.


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